Monday, December 25, 2006

Holidays at the Umoja Village

The Umoja Village Shantytown is commemorating the holidays this season with two events. Each event is open to the public and will be held at the Umoja Village, 6201 NW 17th Ave. on the corner of 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. in the Liberty City section of Miami.

On Monday, December 25, 2006 beginning at 5:00PM, Umoja Villagers will commemorate the Christmas holiday with a dinner and Christmas tree. Residents will leave their wishes on the Village Christmas tree. Friends and supporters are asked to remember those less fortunate during the holiday season and deliver a donation any time this week.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 marks the opening of the seven day Kwanzaa celebration. Each of the seven days corresponds with a principle of Kwanzaa, and the first principle is "Umoja," or unity, the shantytown's namesake. On Tuesday, come celebrate "Umoja" at "Umoja." At 6:00pm, renown local Kwanzaa expert Altine Baki will lead Kwanzaa's opening ceremony at the Umoja Village Shantytown. Bring yourself, your family and good spirits to learn about Kwanzaa, the Umoja Village and what Unity is all about.

The Umoja Village Shantytown was founded on October 23, 2006 in response to gentrification and the housing crisis in Miami-Dade County. Fed up with government corruption and support for wealthy developers at the expense of low-income people, Take Back the Land used the Pottinger Settlement to establish the shantytown. Today, the Umoja Village houses and feeds approximately 40 people for free.

 We welcome the entire community to join us for the beginning of Kwanzaa and the celebration of the principle of Unity. In that spirit, we ask supporters to unite with us in opposing the city of Miami ordinance designed to make the shantytown illegal, setting the stage for a raid. The final vote on the ordinance is set for January 11, 2007. Visit to sign our support petition and get the number to the city commissioners to call in your opposition to the ordinance.

 We also ask that this holiday season, you consider making a generous donation to Take Back the Land. You can deliver water, clothes, canned meats, fresh food, batteries, candles, mattresses or anything else you think we might need to the village. You can also make financial contributions with checks made out to 'Take Back the Land' or visit our paypal site at: eland%2eblogspot%2ecom&cn=Special%20Comments&tax=0&currency_code=USD&lc=US&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF&charset=UTF%2d8

Thank you for your support and we look forward to greeting you on liberated land.


Max Rameau
Take Back the Land
A project of the Center for Pan-African Development

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'Hands Off' Take Back the Land Shantytown Press Conference


Local clergy are set to express their support for the Umoja Village Shantytown and the Take Back the Land effort, calling for community support for the project and demanding the government refrain from raiding what has become a home for several dozen poor individuals and families. The press conference will take place on Thursday, December 15, 2006 beginning at 2:00pm at the Umoja Village Shantytown, 6201 NW 17th Ave. in Liberty City.

The religious community has been essential to the success of the shantytown, donating food, money, time and moral support for the project and its residents. Clergy who are confirmed participants include: representatives for Bishop Victor Curry, New Birth Baptist Church; Rev. George McRea, Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. Richard Dunn, President of PULSE; Pastor Anthony Dawkins, Project Hope Ministry; Rev. Ralph Ross, Historical Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Father Cox, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church;  Minster Gerald Muhammad, Muhammad's Mosque #29; and New Beginning Church.

As you know, in response to gentrification, a severe housing crisis and public corruption which resulted in the diversion of tens of millions of low income housing dollars into the pockets of wealthy politically connected developers, Take Back the Land occupied the vacant lot at 6201 NW 17th Ave. on October 23, 2006 and built a shantytown. Today, the Umoja Village feeds and houses approximately 40 residents. In late November, the Village reached it's building capacity and has been turning away potential residents on a daily basis. The operation subsists entirely on donations.

In spite of the fact that we are protesting their unwillingness to solve the problem and doing their job for them by feeding and housing the homeless, we are increasingly concerned about a government ordered raid on the Umoja Village. We are doing important and historic work here and the people who now call this village home deserve a place to stay, however, modest.

As such, we invite all activists, organizations and concerned parties to come to the press conference, if possible. We are asking clergy to speak, but your support is critical. We must send a message to Miami's Manny Diaz and the County's Carlos Alvarez that the shantytown is here because they are not doing their jobs and to keep their hands off the Shantytown!

You can also show your support by bringing a donation of any size. We need money, canned meat, pillows, blankets, clothing, fresh food, nails, water, bleach, ice, eggs, dish soap, flashlights with batteries and anything else you need to run your household.

Visit our blog, where you can get an update on our progress, sign our petition and donate money via paypal:


Max Rameau
Take Back the Land
a project of the Center for Pan-African Development